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How Do You Know When Video Games Are Causing Brain Damage?

Playing video games too much can cause noticeable changes in behavior and attention, which could make it more difficult to succeed in other areas of life.

Research shows that the changes are similar to those observed in substance addiction.

Keep in mind that the brain retains its plasticity throughout life: this type of damage should be reversible.

Let's go through some symptoms to watch out for.

Craving and impaired decision-making

This is the #1 symptom of gaming addiction, and it's easy to notice: you just feel like playing video games all the time.

Once it gets bad enough, it really affects your ability to make decisions. "Why go to bed if you could play video games?" "Why do your homework if you could play video games?" Even when there are other important things to do, you can't help but start another game.

Brain scans show that this craving is similar to gambling addiction or substance abuse. Most people don't think video games are as bad as drugs, even though they both cause "addict-like" behavior.

Once the brain gets used to video games, it feels like it can't get a reward anywhere else, leading to these cravings.

Abnormal sensitivity to reward and punishment

Playing too many video games causes enhanced reward sensitivity and decreased loss sensitivity.

This means you might make more risky decisions in life, hoping to get ahead, even if they are costly, and stick with it even after you should have learned your lesson.

Video games are designed to train users to "keep playing", even when they are losing.

To lead a good life, we need to be able to have good control over behavior, and show inhibition when taking action might not be a good idea.

Gaming addiction breaks down the control and inhibition systems, leading to impulse disorders.

Attention problems lead to anxiety and depression

Video games are known to exacerbate ADHD symptoms. In some ways, gaming addiction could be described as really bad ADHD combined with some anxiety or depression symptoms.

Once your brain gets used to having constant, instant feedback, it makes it harder to be motivated and focus in real life. Once you stop making progress in life, you might feel more anxious or depressed.

Everybody needs to be able to feel rewarded, in order to stay motivated and feel good.

And if you can't focus on your reward, you're not going to make any progress, which prevents you from feeling good.

We want to help each other live better.

Nobody needs to understand brain chemistry to know that playing too many video games can make real life feel bad.

Our slogan is: "It feels good to stay busy working towards a better future." Because we really believe that's the best thing anybody can do, when going through a rough point in life.

Hope to see you around!